'The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.’ Thomas Merton
We all have a history, a background with certain experiences, traumas, and beliefs, influencing who we are in the present moment. Therefore, it makes sense that many of us would focus on what’s not working, especially in the American society, where we are very much conditioned to do so. In those moments when we are ‘going through it’, we are experiencing the ebb of life, where in other times, we are in the flow. The flow is when we feel we are on top of the wave; things are easily falling into place. Other times, we feel we just got pummeled or lost in the undercurrent. As humans, no one is exempt from the ebb. We are either reacting or responding to it.
Reacting = Suffering. Responding = Possibility.
What does that mean?
When someone confronts challenges in their life, they subconsciously choose to either react: Create a negative meaning, getting defensive, or take what the other person is saying or experiencing personally, as if it is their problem or fault. We also have the option to respond: Witness, step back, and allow that person to experience what they are experiencing without feeling the need to fix it, change it, or DO something about it. The choice between the two can set the emotional tone for the relationship.
When we take this one step further into intimate relationships, emotions may run even higher. Why? We have invested in a union and have allowed ourselves to be much more open and vulnerable than we had normally been. When two people choose to be in that place of vulnerability, their unconscious racket/story can still be playing in the background.
Unconscious is the key word here. We are operating 90% of the time from our unconscious mind. Therefore, when we are in situations that are challenging or bring up anything that may trigger a wound from our past, we can unconsciously play out a pattern that doesn’t necessarily serve us.
In those moments, if we come back to taking responsibility for our own limiting stories creeping in, it opens the door for potential. This creates space for something new to manifest. It does not mean the other person will be able to arrive where you are or that they will go through the situation in the same way you did. It allows us to learn a new, more proactive way of being our own individual self, while offering compassion toward the other who is experiencing the ebb.
What IF there was nothing to fix, change, or improve? OY!!! What would be the point???
And this, my friends, is why it is about a practice and not about perfecting something. If you think you will perfect it, especially after you have been playing out a very different, negative, reactive pattern for a large or recent portion of your life, your expectations may prove too lofty.
What would it take to set yourself up for success? Consider implementing this Home Play and getting curious:
* Self-care is huge! What are you doing to build your own connection with self? This will support when you, or others around you, are in the ebb. Not to mention the myriad of other benefits!
* Begin to notice what happens within relationships, especially the people closest to you. How often do you want to make them be someplace they are not?
* If you notice that you frequently are in a place of judgment or fixing within relationships, get curious about your own judgment toward yourself. If you notice you have a constant inner critic, you may be projecting on another because you don’t like it about yourself. (Totally common and the reason why the first question is paramount). In that moment, consider what compassion toward yourself would look like.
Example-You can walk away and state, ‘I love you, and right now I feel like I am going into my own story and making you and this situation wrong. I am going to take a little time to be with myself and I would love to return to this later. I love you, I will be back, and really want to fully support you.’ Hard to do…but it creates space that is often necessary and revolutionary for your relationship!
This is a BIG topic, and just the tip of the iceberg. That said, if you would like more support in showing up grounded and centered within relationships, despite the ebb, lean in! Reach out for a 15 minute consultation to see if one-on-one coaching is for you. You can also check out all of our incredible offerings at VDA Coaching.
If you are interested in joining Sister Queen, we are opening up 2 more spots. Although we began on Monday, you CAN still join. Reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested, serious and ready to cultivate a deeper love, connection, and commitment with yourself!
With so much love and respect,